“Do it now! Sometimes later becomes never.” When a man has a nickname like “The Beast,” then you know he must be fierce, which is exactly how many competitors and commentators in the bodybuilding world describe Dutchman Roelly Winklaar. Standing at only 5’6” tall, Winklaar proves that height doesn’t matter as he more than makes up for his short stature with 285 pounds of pure muscle and an incredible competitive streak that he’s been cultivating for nearly three decades.
Hailing from the exotic Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao where pristine white beaches and gorgeous coral reefs fill the landscape, Winklaar was born on the island as Egberton Rulove Etienne-Winklaar on June 22, 1977, but was raised alongside his three siblings in the Netherlands. Spending much of his childhood with his two sisters—Edcharda and Etienne—and his brother, Quincy, Winklaar knew early on that he was different from his siblings when he always dreamed of becoming stronger and faster, bigger and better.
With little known about his life throughout his teens and 20s, Winklaar had obviously spent much of his time training as he took the bodybuilding industry by storm at 32 years old when he competed in the 2009 NPC Arnold Amateur Championships and walked away with first place. Audiences, competitors and commentators alike couldn’t help but notice Winklaar’s excessive muscular mass and his shredded physique, a combination that quickly earned him his nickname as “The Beast” and opened many doors for him on the professional circuit.
Making his professional debut in 2010, Winklaar competed in the IFBB Arnold Classic competition where all eyes were on the Dutchman’s incredible physique as he took home a seventh-place finish in his first professional contest. The same year, he took home third place in the IFBB Australia Pro Grand Prix with his growing success leading to the 2010 IFBB New York Pro where he shocked the bodybuilding world with a huge win. By then, it was apparent that a new star had risen in the industry.
Winklaar was invited to the 2010 Mr. Olympia competition where he finished in 13th place, which did little to dampen the excitement and success of the biggest year of his career. Continuing to strive for greatness (and turning heads as “The Dutch Beast”), he won the IFBB Nordic Pro and the IFBB Wings of Strength Pro in 2014 where, although the wins were not widely publicized, Winklaar once again proved to be a true contender in the muscle-filled world of bodybuilding. Since then, he has gone on to compete in numerous IFBB competitions around the world including the British Grand Prix, Mr. Europe Grand Prix, FIBO Power Pro Germany, New York Pro Bodybuilding and PBW Tampa. Scoring a first-place finish at the Nordic Pro and at the Wings of Strength Chicago Pro, he’s competed in the Dallas Europa Super Show, Olympia Weekend, the Sheru Classic, the Arnold Classic Europe and the EVLs Prague Pro Championships.
While Winklaar is no stranger to spending long hours in the gym where he says, “Success isn’t about the end result, it’s about what you learn along the way,” he attributes part of his success to hard work and the other to his mentor, Sibil Peeters, who has helped him further his career and teach him the right techniques to tone specific areas of his body. As a former female bodybuilder, the 53-year-old Peeters certainly knows the ropes when it comes to the industry and is no stranger to calling the shots especially when it involves training. Because of this, Winklaar often refers to her as his “grandmotherly drill sergeant.”
Beyond Peeters’ influence over his life and career, the 39-year-old Winklaar has devised his own set of principles to live by when it comes to bodybuilding. For him, he starts his routine with giant sets and supersets to increase his intensity and blood volume. If he’s working his shoulders, for example, he starts with seated dumbbell presses and then moves to front dumbbell raises. His second principle is to continue doing drop sets even after you fail. In other words, he suggests getting as many sets and reps in as possible. He also says it’s vital not to lock out your reps or do them quickly. Instead, keep each rep controlled and maintain consistent tension on the muscle you’re working. Most importantly, set your rep goal anywhere between 12 and 20 for each set with 15 reps being ideal. If you are doing eight reps or less, it’s time to drop some weight until you can do 15 without any problems.
While Winklaar’s principles likely make sense to other bodybuilders, he breaks it down even further with an example of his typical shoulder routine. Winklaar does four sets of 15 reps of seated dumbbell presses and then a superset with four sets of 15 reps of alternate dumbbell front raises, four sets of 15 reps of seated dumbbell side laterals and four sets of 15 reps of cable rear laterals or EZ-bar upright rows. Simple enough, right?
Apart from spending his time at the gym fine-tuning his bodybuilding principles and toning his physique, Winklaar promotes his reputation as “The Dutch Beast” across Europe with appearances in bodybuilding films like The 49th Annual Mr. Olympia and Generation Iron. Now living in the Netherlands where he raises his three children—Quianah, Daniya and Nygel—Winklaar just might be the strongest dad in the neighborhood, which has left many to assume that his kids and their friends must imagine he’s secretly The Hulk. After all, he certainly has the muscles to prove it!